Winter weather in southern US cancels 1,700 flights and causes motorway crashes

Vehicular pile-ups due to ice storm lead to at least one death in Texas

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Winter weather brought ice to large parts of the US on Tuesday, causing the cancellation of more than 1,700 flights, bringing traffic to a standstill and causing crashes that resulted in at least one death.

As the ice storm advanced eastward on Tuesday, watches and warnings stretched from the western heel of Texas all the way to West Virginia.

Several rounds of mixed precipitation — including freezing rain and sleet — were in store for many areas through Wednesday, meaning some regions could be hit several times, the Weather Prediction Centre warned.

Numerous car collisions were reported in Austin, Texas, with at least one fatality, according to the Austin Fire Department.

In Travis County, Texas, which includes Austin, police and sheriff’s deputies have been responding to new crashes about every three minutes since 8am, according to the Austin-Travis County Traffic Report Page.

More than 900 flights to or from major hub Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and more than 250 to or from Dallas Love Field were cancelled or delayed on Tuesday, according to the tracking service FlightAware.

At Dallas-Fort Worth, more than 50 per cent of Tuesday’s scheduled flights had been cancelled by Tuesday afternoon.

About 7,000 power cuts were reported in Texas as of late Tuesday morning, Republican Governor Greg Abbott said.

Fleets of emergency vehicles fanned out along 1,600 roads affected by the freeze.

In another part of the state, a sheriff’s deputy who stopped to help the driver of an 18-wheeler that slid off an icy motorway on Tuesday was hit by a second lorry that pinned him beneath one of its tires, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. The driver and the sheriff are expected to survive.

And in another wreck, a Texas state trooper was taken to hospital with serious injuries after being struck by a driver who lost control of the vehicle, said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“The roadways are very hazardous right now. We cannot overemphasise that,” Mr Abbott said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: February 01, 2023, 6:56 AM